Tate Modern sought to tell the story of modern sculpture by looking at representations of the standing human form by artists from Rodin to Gormley. The upright figure is one of the most ancient ways in which artists have embodied social, political and cultural concerns, in images ranging from fertility goddesses to authoritarian rulers. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries the body has remained an abiding theme for artists, as it mirrors shifting perceptions and ideas of what we are.
The placing of life-size sculptures of the human figure within the 30m-high Turbine Hall presented a challenge of scale. Hot-rolled steel sheets at their original factory size, with marble-like finish, were built into freestanding walls to give a sense of enclosure at an appropriate scale within the vast space, and were also used to create a floor surface for the sculptures.
In the absence of plinths, the viewer met the sculptures eye-to-eye. The exhibition was curated by Matthew Gale, Curator of International Art 1900-1960 and Frances Morris, Senior Curator at Tate Modern.
'The Upright Figure' as seen in the film 'The Mother' directed by Roger Michell.
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